Egyptian investigators have tracked the last movements and calls made by Italian national and Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni prior to his disappearance, concluding that the Italian researcher was killed in an apartment in downtown Cairo.
Investigative authorities are interrogating a number of suspects, and people with criminal records for abduction and murder, according to a security source.
On Tuesday, fifteen days after Regeni’s disappearance, a Giza prosecution unit inspected the house where Regeni lived to collect his the belongings only to find that they had been taken to Italy by his family, according to a prosecution report.
Egyptian ambassador to Rome Amr Helmy reiterated that Egyptian security agencies had no hand in the death of Regeni.
“Regeni was never under our police custody and we are not so ‘naive’ to kill a young Italian and throw away his body on the day of Minister [Federica] Guidi’s visit to Cairo,” he told the Italian news agency ANSA.
Media reports, mainly Italian, attributed the blame for Regeni’s death to Egyptian security forces. A number of top officials, including Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, also denied the involvement of security agencies in the incident.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday emphasised Egypt’s commitment to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into Regeni’s death in cooperation with Italian authorities.
The statement came in response to an open letter from more than 4,600 academics from 90 countries that called upon Egyptian authorities to cooperate with an independent and impartial investigation into “all instances of forced disappearances, cases of torture and deaths in detention during January and February this year, alongside investigations by criminal prosecutors into Giulio’s death.”
Published by The Guardian, the letter claimed that, according to reports from rights organisations, “bodies reporting to the Egyptian interior and defence ministries routinely practise the same kinds of torture that Giulio suffered against hundreds of Egyptian citizens each year.”
The Ministry of Interior refuted the claims about enforced disappearances and other violations in Egypt saying they are a “complete distortion of the situation on the ground and they represent generalisation based on rumours and deliberate falsification.”
Regeni, 28, was found dead on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road highway late on Wednesday,a significant distance from both his house in downtown Cairo and where he was last seen on 25 January in Behouth metro station in Dokki. His body bore marks of severe beating and possible torture.